How to Get Your Finances Back on Track After College Saturday, Jun 25 2022 

By Jacob Maslow – Branded Content

College can be a wonderful, enlightening experience for many, but it’s also a challenging time. The days you spend at college will often be harsh on your bank account. Even if you had some savings to take with you, there’s a good chance you’re going to be finishing your education with limited cash, and a little debt to think about. The good news is you don’t have to start your adventure into a new world with endless stress about your finances. The following advice will help you to get your finances back on track, so you’re ready to make the most out of the career you’ve chosen. 

Figure Out Your Debt Strategy

One of the biggest steps in making sure your finances stay balanced after college, is to build a plan for getting rid of debt. Only a handful of people finish their degree without anything to pay back to a loan provider. This means you’re going to need to figure out how you’re going to handle the expense of paying for your education. The good news is there are multiple options out there. Focus on paying off high-interest loans and credit cards first. Then, whenever you have an opportunity, take the time to look at your loans and see expenses you can minimize. Refinancing existing student loans into new loans after a couple of years can sometimes save you significant cash. 

Keep Costs Low to Begin With

Even if you have a great job lined up after college, it’s usually a good idea to keep costs low initially. This will help you to collect additional cash you can use to pay off your debts. It also means you’ll have more money to put aside into your savings and emergency funds. Some students might consider moving back home with their parents, so they can focus all of their earnings into saving up for a deposit on a home or a new car. Trimming the fat on your spending can help college students establish credit by keeping the debt-to-income ratio positive. You can also look at living in a shared apartment or finding other ways to cut down on living expenses. Make sure you have a budget on-hand to guide you. This will stop you from spending more than you can reasonably afford. 

Work on Your Earning Potential

Finally, as a college graduate, you’ll already have significantly more earning potential than some other job applicants in your field. However, it’s important to continue working on this as you go. Start by choosing a good graduate job which opens the doors to extra opportunities in the future. A great role will have a clear path to progression laid out ahead of you. It’s also worth looking into opportunities to make extra cash on the side. You might be able to do some freelance work outside of your regular hours to upgrade your income. The more money you earn while you still have some extra time, the more cash you can put into your savings. Remember, don’t be afraid to upgrade your earning opportunities even further as you go, by taking additional courses and lessons to expand your skillsets.

Photo Courtesy // Jacob Maslow //

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5 Tips on How to Travel After College Wednesday, Oct 20 2021 

By Jacob Maslow–Branded Content

After college, you will move on from the life of a student into that of a professional. This is the perfect time to go out and see the world before you become too busy with adulthood. 

Let this article serve as a travel guide if you want to see the world after college. After reading this, you will know tips that can make traveling easier for you after you graduate.

1. Visit Places You Can Afford

One of the things you need to keep in mind when looking for a place to visit is affordability. If you are still not making money, it is not ideal to go to places with a high cost of living. 

Instead of going to Tokyo or Scandinavia, go to places with cheaper travel costs. Look up general costs of living and currency exchanges.

Doing this can help you find a place where your dollar and relative buying power are strong.

2. Time Your Trip Right

Be patient. Although it can be tempting to take off for a foreign trip after graduation, this may not always be a smart move. 

Wait for the perfect time to go to the place you wish to visit. If you want to go to China, going during January or February would be expensive. 

More people will visit during this time because of the Spring Festival and the Chinese New Year. 

Because of these events, tourists and locals flock to the big cities. Airlines and hotels take advantage of these festivities to raise their prices.

Ideal travel time varies depending on the location.

If you are willing to brave freezing temperatures, you can go to Europe instead of China. However, because of the cold weather during this season, there will be fewer tourists.

3. Volunteer or Work Abroad

Try volunteering or working in another country. This is a smart option if you are not particularly attached to your current location. 

A temporary or seasonal job abroad can help you become more independent. 

You only need to create a resume while you take in the culture and experiences of another country.

4. Use FundMyTravel

You can use crowdfunding sites, like FundMyTravel, for financial support. This way, you can ask friends, family, and your extended network to support your travel goals. 

 

Think hard about what you want to achieve in your travels, then invite everyone to support you.

5. Try Backpacking

Backpacking may seem cliche, but this travel type has its merits.

Exploring a foreign country on foot fits into a post-graduate lifestyle. So it is because doing this is affordable and flexible.

You can choose to have a return date on your backpacking trip. But, you can also devote an unspecified length of time to the trip.

Places like India and Nepal are popular for backpacking. It is because these countries provide opportunities to mingle with the locals. You can also admire ancient architecture during the trip.

Rather than living by a schedule, you can make the decisions on the spot. Backpacking allows you to choose what kind of experiences and memories to make.

Backpacking trips are also cost-efficient. For example, traveling through Thailand can cost you as little as $20 per day. 

That said, you still need to prepare for a backpacking trip.

Have a soft travel schedule that outlines which nights you will spend in certain cities. 

Also, make sure your vaccinations and boosters are up to date. This way, you will not have to worry about foreign viruses or illnesses.

Traveling after graduation is a smart move for those looking for adventures. You are still not bogged down by work. Plus, you are as free and able-bodied as you will ever be.

So, do not miss the chance to travel after you get that diploma. Keep in mind the tips above and find your next adventure.

Photo Courtesy of Jacob Maslow//Cosmic Press

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Smart Money Moves After Graduation Tuesday, Sep 28 2021 

By Jacob Maslow–Branded Content

Once you have finished college, your life will change, and you will have greater responsibility and opportunity in the future. You might be beginning a new career, living on your own, or becoming independent from your parents for the first time. If you want to be successful after school, a few things will help you do so.

Take Care of Student Loans

Now is the time to take care of the debt you may have accumulated while getting your degree. Most graduates have at least some student debts after finishing school. It can be tempting to make only the minimum payments each month, but it is best to repay them as aggressively as possible. 

Once you take care of these loans, you won’t have to pay as much in interest, giving you more savings. One way you can lower your monthly expenses is by creating a plan of action for your loans. For example, you could consider an option to refinance student loans into a new loan from a private lender. You might get different repayment terms or find a lower interest rate, which can then reduce what you pay each month.

Budgeting for Living Expenses 

It is essential to understand where your cash comes from and where it goes. Then, create and stick to a budget each month to ensure you stay financially healthy for a long time. There are plenty of apps that will help you create this money-saving tool, and these can track your credit, account balances, and spending, no matter where you are.

Understand living expenses to create a realistic budget. Once you move off-campus, you will find costs can add up quickly. Whether it is rent, utilities, or transportation, you will be facing a lot more costs now. And these can add up quickly, making you wonder where your income is going. When setting up the budget, ensure you consider each expense and know they can change throughout the year. For example, if you live in a region with frigid winters, your electric bill might be higher then.

Start Retirement Planning

It might seem crazy to think about your retirement when you have barely entered the workforce, but now is the best time to begin saving. Many times, you can earn interest on the money in your account, as well as the money you have already invested. But, of course, that means you need to have time on your side to have the best results.

It’s not that hard to save for retirement since the most complex part will be making sure there is enough room in your budget for it. First, create automation so some of your paychecks go directly toward the account. Second, if you receive a 401(k) match from an employer, try to take full advantage of that offer since it is free money. Think of it as part of the wages you earn from the work you provide to the company. Finally, promise yourself that you won’t touch your retirement savings, no matter what.

Photo Courtesy of Jacob Maslow // Cosmic Press

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Where does the money go?: Using budget apps to track spending Sunday, Sep 8 2019 

By Jordan Geisler —

More likely than not, at some point in your academic career you’ll experience what it’s like to be a broke college student. Think of it like a coming-of-age ritual. Fortunately, being millennials, we have technology on our side, which means we have the power of budgeting apps right at our fingertips.

A great way to handle your finances, budgeting apps offer helpful insight to your spending trends, keep track of your purchases and even a little more. EveryDollar follows steps from financial expert Dave Ramsey and apps like NerdWallet track your credit score.

Audrey Kline, a microeconomics professor in the School of Business, said that even though she doesn’t personally use a budgeting app, she recommends college students using one.

“Having a road map and a budget app, or some other way that you budget, to just look at your expenses versus your income can help with eliminating one thing at a time,” said Kline.

Sophomore finance major Tom Murphy agrees with Kline. He recommends apps like Acorns and Robin Hood, which allow you to invest spare change into stocks. “Having some sort of money put away from investments is gonna be very helpful when you graduate,” Murphy said.

However, while it’s nice having an app track spending habits, some feel weird about apps tracking their every move.

Senior communication major Cameron Wilson said she uses Mint, a budgeting app linked to her bank account that categorizes and tracks her spending.

“It’s kind of weird that it knows everything that you’re doing, but it really does help when you’re trying to budget for school,” said Wilson.

However, the overall consensus from professors and students alike for utilizing a budgeting app resembles that of something like floss: they themselves don’t use it, but they believe it’s a good practice and recommend others to use it.

Even still, they all agree on the importance of putting money away, with or without the use of a budgeting app.

Kline said, “Even if it’s a little, just get in the habit of routinely putting away money from every paycheck, even if it’s five dollars, just to establish the discipline and the habit of saving.”

Graphic by Shayla Kerr / The Louisville Cardinal

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